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On The Wrong Track

May 2024
1min read


A number of alert readers have called our attention to real or supposed errors in our captions for the trolley-car post cards that appeared in the February, 1973, issue. Mr. Benjamin R. Jordan of California tells us that in our picture on page 32 we have “placed the Rubio Canyon in Griffith Park instead of its proper location on the north slope of the San Gabriel Valley, a slip of some eleven miles as the crow flies, and a little farther by street car.” Mr. Jordan, however, graciously provides us with a couple of excuses: “Los Angeles’ several earthquakes could have brought the two locations together and replaced them again. Besides, with the ever-present smog permeating the area, I don’t think that anyone is really sure just where the two places are in relation to each other anyway. ” We came out better on a complaint by Mr. D. Douglas of San Francisco, who wrote “in sorrow more than anger” to urge us to fire the caption writer who identified the street railway on the back cover as a trolley rather than a cable car. The lack of overhead wires does indeed suggest a cable car, and in fact the lines on Pennsylvania Avenue were originally powered by moving cables. But by the early years of this century, when the picture was taken, the city had shifted over to electric power. So those are trolleys in the picture, fizzing along by the grace of an electric shoe held against the underground wires. Finally, we would like to apologize for omitting El Paso’s international car line to Juarez, Mexico, from our list of working electric trolleys in America. At the time the issue went to press, the line was out of service while repairs were being made. Happily, it’s now running again, and travellers can ride over the border and back on the only international streetcar line in North America.

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